Update 2023

I am essentially un-tragic,
I am easily distracted from pain,
I cannot resist happiness.

Dear Friends of the Ashley Bryan Center,

When Ashley’s name is mentioned, it’s interesting how often that is followed by someone saying, “I heard him say…“ or “I often think about his reciting…” Everyone has a story to tell about their time with him. We are just beginning to understand how large a community this storyteller touched and inspired.

In 2022 and 2023 there were seven major shows of Ashley’s art, featuring pieces gifted and loaned by the ABC. These include the Morgan Library exhibit in NYC, the Farnsworth in Rockland, Colby College in Waterville, and at The Southern Vermont Arts Center through January 7, 2024. So many were introduced to Ashley for the first time. Others, knowing him for years, realized new things about his life and work. A special thanks is offered to the Kislak Center at the University of Pennsylvania, now home to Ashley’s archive. The catalogued portion of his collection is currently housed in 150 boxes, containing somewhere over 75,000 items. In addition to digitizing their holdings, now available to all, curator Lynne Farrington led a team to produce a comprehensive exhibit along with an extraordinary catalogue (Available at

Our most exciting news is that the ABC board, along with friends and neighbors, began the Storyteller Pavilion expansion to give Ashley a larger footprint in Maine. Phase 1 is a recreation of Ashley’s storied dining room and doubling of exhibition space. Along with his table and chairs, the dining room will be filled with toys, books, and those jellies. Ashley’s note of Welcome Home! Family!, always on his front door, will be there, leading visitors to explore what made this man so special. Although the ABC has donated pieces to many museums, we have retained a significant inventory of Ashley’s artwork to be shown in the Pavilion.

Funding for Phase 1 was accomplished thanks to generous donors and the sale of several Ashley Bryan paintings and collages. A foundation was poured, construction is ongoing, and we hope to welcome you back to Ashley’s Table in summer 2024!

Ashley's Table'

On to Phase 2, The Community Room, fall of 2024. This will complement the vision of THE STORYTELLER PAVILION ART CENTER as a place for reflection, learning, and inspiration. The COMMUNITY ROOM will be designed as an interactive space for all ages, hosting art classes, poetry readings, workshops and other activities featuring artists and storytellers. Construction of the COMMUNITY ROOM is expected to cost $150,000. Please join us and help complete this project.

As was true of Ashley, the possibilities are endless! Uh-Huh.

And in these difficult times, remember to “wake up every morning and find the child in you.”

Dan Lief and Cynthia Lief
The Ashley Bryan Center

every morning is a whole new day of discovery
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